Car servicing – consider the time factor  

Posted on September 18th, 2020 by Rob Marshall

Car servicing - consider the time factor   

Faced with enforced lockdowns, the majority of us have covered fewer miles in our cars. As many vehicles’ overall annual mileages might be lower this year, some car owners presume that they can delay their annual maintenance, just as the MOT Test has been extended. This is a mistake.


“Whichever the soonest”

Ironically, regular short trips dictate more servicing, not less. As the engine is unlikely to reach its normal operating temperature for a suitable length of time, the resultant incomplete combustion creates extra dirt that must be mopped-up by the lubrication system. This is why engine oil, for example, needs to be changed more regularly on cars underdoing multiple short trips, than a vehicle covering longer distance and a higher mileage with fewer cold starts.


There are other examples, where frequent short trips accelerate wear, but this is why manufacturers provide service schedules with both mileage and time limits, which should be treated with the codicil: “whatever comes first”. Many technicians agree that cars with a service interval of two years is too long and that any car benefits from annual maintenance.


As winter places extra pressures on your car, it is a wise idea to have it serviced within the next two months, especially if it has not visited a garage this year.  While an MOT Test is not a service but a very basic safety inspection, where no dismantling is permitted, consider having your MOT Test conducted, if it is due to expire before the end of the year. This is because the industry is predicting an MOT overload post-October, from cars that had their original expiry date extended earlier this year.